Dear loved ones, sometimes I forget to tell you…

It goes without saying that those who have been or are in my shoes, and by that I mean, the well known travelling shoes, they will understand and know perfectly what I am trying to say here.

But this post it’s for those out there that don’t know it. This is for my loved ones at home, for my dearest and closest friends who I grew up with, or I have known for years and years. This is for everyone I will meet in the near and/or distant future.

It is time to come clean. I lied to you. No, that sounds bad. On certain occasions, I just voluntarily forget to tell you some things. Everyone who is far from home can relate to this, everyone has done it and everyone will do it. Whoever argues with me on this one is a liar! (or he/she will never leave home).

So, dear loved ones, sometimes I forget to tell you:

  1. that I had one too many tequila shots last night, so I am spending a whole day in bed with a hangover, rather than do any sightseeing or exciting things.
  2. that although I am an adrenaline junkie, sometimes all I want is to go for a walk in the park rather than a bungee-jump. I will do the exciting stuff as well. But not when you are expecting it.
  3. that I ate or drank something, which clearly didn’t agree with my stomach, and I spent several days being sick.
  4. that I fell in love.
  5. that it didn’t work out and I am now heart-broken, hence the tequila shots last night.
  6. that I met some unbelievable, amazing people who inspire me.
  7. that I met someone who is teaching me so much about life, and helps me see things in a new perspective.
  8. that I met some individuals who became close friends, and I confide in them, and I share my problems and my joys with them. But they will never replace you. My heart is big enough for all of you, for old and new friendships. They are here with me now, and I am with them.
  9. that I had a hard time adapting to a new culture.
  10. that sometimes I blame time difference for not speaking to you, when in reality I just didn’t feel like it. This doesn’t make me a horrible friend, it just makes me human, and I know our friendship is stronger than this.
  11. that sometimes I wish you’d be able to come and see me, and spend time with me. I miss you so much.
  12. finally, sometimes I forget to tell you that I have no idea when I will be home, and that I don’t want to stop this adventure just yet.

There are numerous reasons why travellers do this. But I will only attempt to speak from my own experiences.

I forget to tell you things because I don’t want to disappoint you. You all have an image of how great my life is, and probably for the most part, it actually is, and I love my life and what I am doing, but there are moments in which life sucks, and I don’t want you to know how hard it can get.

I don’t want you to worry too much. I know how much you love me, and you worry about my wellbeing, I don’t want to add any extra stress.

I am also afraid I might lose you. People change, I change. I miss a lot of important events back home, and on the back of my mind I always fear we might drift too far apart.

I don’t want you to think I failed.

I also don’t want you to think I replaced you, because I could never do that. And I want you to know that all your joys are mine too. And that I am here ( thanks to technology and all the social platforms) for you.

Travelling has taught me a bunch of things.

Nowadays it seems that the internet is flooded with articles about travelling. What is the best way to travel, pro and cons of travelling, lessons learned while travelling. However this might not be the case. I am following dozens of websites and blogs related to travel, so this clearly has an impact on the sorts of articles I am seeing every day.

I travel. I do not often write about it, I do not always post pictures of what I see. This is by all means a personal reflection of certain things I noticed about myself and it is all due to travelling. I do not want to say that all my adventures changed me profoundly, because I don’t think they did. I had a very good idea of who I was long before I started country hopping, and that, at its core, it never changed. Nevertheless, travelling made some qualities, and equally some flaws surface more often.

I have read a bunch of articles about how the best way to travel is alone, or with a friend, or with a partner, or backpacking or luxury travelling. I have travelled alone, with my travel soulmate who is currently stuck in Sydney, with a partner, in a group. I went backpacking. I hitchhiked,  I slept in hotels, hostels, motels, air bnbs. I also slept on beaches and I camped. I worked abroad and I partied. Do not get offended but I do not think there is a perfect way to travel, if you want to travel you will do it anyhow, and what is comfortable for you is the perfect way to travel.

So, all this travelling I have been doing has taught me that:

  1. Where I am from, it does not matter, and I wish people would ask that less frequently. I am a Romanian living in England, and that is my home. There are certain parts of me which are truly English, and I would argue, certain parts do not belong to any country, Romania or England, but are purely me. Travelling made me realize the world is more diverse than we think. I have met a girl who was half Portuguese, half New Zealander, born in Hong Kong, living in Australia. New Zealand born, raised in Australia, living in America, Indian who lives in America, Syrian who lives in France. Individuals tend to say more than one country when asked ‘where are you from?’ because people might have the wrong impression about the country of origin or they simply identify with more than one culture.
  2. Travelling teaches you to be more open. Yes it does. But I was open before I started travelling. However, it taught me how to be more reserved, especially  in my private life. I learned that it is ok not to share everything, and it is more than fine to be the odd one at the hostel from time to time, if you simply want some alone time.
  3. Travelling taught me to eat things I simply do not like. I am not a fussy eater, and I have never been, however there are certain things I would rather die before I would buy or cook (maybe that’s an exaggeration, but you know what I mean). Travelling erased that idea; you eat what you are being offered; even more so when the people you meet go through the trouble of cooking for you (my advice would be that if you are vegetarian, vegan or have any allergies, you should let people know in advance).
  4.  My story might be very good, but someone else’s story might be great. Meeting people is a great way to discover different places and get to know different cultures. Once you start travelling you are going to have amazing stories and people will be interested in your experiences and they will be impressed with your adventures but you will also meet individuals who will make you think that even though your story is great, their story is better. And they will feel the same. and you will accept that , because you will learn that there are not two people on this planet who travel the same, and every story you hear is as good as the previous one.
  5.  I learned I am very easily entertained and I am almost never bored. I do not need much, actually I would even dare to say, that providing everything is ok, I do not need anything to just be happy.
  6. Finally I learned that even though a good amount of people I met have a good reason why they travel, I do not have one, and that is more than fine. There are people who travel in search for spirituality, or in search of something they are missing, or in search of love, or they simply travel because of work, money and a million of other reasons, however I just travel, and I don’t know how to answer this question. I travel, and if I will ever find the reason why I do (if there actually is one) I will know then, but until that time comes I shall continue country hopping.

Oslo a pied on a very hot end of summer day!

It’s a funny story how we (my friend Mandy, again, and myself) started our journey to Norway. After the little planning that we usually do before embarking on a new adventure (like buying our plane tickets and deciding over the dates), we wake up at 3am one morning ready to go on yet another adventure this year. Who would have thought that it will be a holiday full of surprises. The wake up call that morning wasn’t our alarm, no..it was far from it, because I think we were still half asleep when we were walking towards the bus station to catch a coach to Stanstead when Mandy got egged. Yes, she had a raw egg thrown at her (you can read the whole story here:http://whynottravelmandy.wordpress.com/2014/08/29/an-uneggspected-journey/ ). My hysterical laughter and she feeling almost sick definitely woke us up, and prepared for 3 brilliant days in Oslo. I need to let everyone know that I wasn’t laughing at her, and I did apologize to her on plenty occasions for my laughter, but it is what I do in situations like this, it’s like a coping mechanism. Otherwise I couldn’t have washed her hair in the bus stop, or in the airport’s bathroom, and probably I wouldn’t have carried a smelly jumper in my backpack for 3 days. Soon after we got to the airport and we got rid of the smell, the day looked brighter (having a shot of whisky at 6am and a full session of make-up, makes you feel 100% better)

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We managed to board the plane and get to Norway. Once in Norway, we had a rather long train journey from the airport to Oslo central station, but apart from the massive confusion of how expensive the ticket was (Mandy’s app wasn’t working properly) we were very happy we were in Oslo. (FYI, the ticket was around £16).

The rather long train journey wasn’t bad at all. We were very lucky the sun was out (and it stayed out for the next 3 days as well), and the views that Norway has to offer are very breathtaking. Looking through the train window couldn’t help but think on how different western and especially Scandinavian countries are to Eastern European ones. One can mainly see the difference at the countryside. In western and nordic Europe everything seems neat and in order and beautifully placed. It is peaceful and quiet and just perfect. I don’t think I could ever emphasizes enough how neat and perfect things look. Especially when you’re just passing by on a train. Here you can really find tranquility unlike the Eastern European countryside which gives you a chaotic feeling, where there’s a mix of everything and an unbelievable contrast  of colours and people and music and nature. I love them both, and I can relate to them both.

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Once we got to the central station in Oslo, we stopped for a coffee in Starbucks (and some wifi of course). What happened next, came as a surprise. Not in a million years I would have thought that this is going to be one of my first experiences in Oslo. This random guy and his group of friends (or better said brothers and sisters) started talking to me out of the blue. After the introductory bits and pieces that you normally have with someone that you haven’t met before he told me that him and his mates are going around town healing people. When I first heard ‘healing people’ I thought I didn’t understand right, so I asked him again, just to confirm. Yes, him and his group of friends, were preaching Jesus word and were apparently healing people who needed help. So after asking me if I have any pains, and me saying that my back hurts from my backpack they started praying to God to heal my lower back. They’ve done twice just to make sure God is hearing them and they filmed me. Yes, there’s a video out there (which I hope it will never go viral) which proves the fact that these guys prayed for me (and my lower back).

After Starbucks, we decided to take on our backpacks and start exploring Oslo, discovering it’s beauty. The first stop was the Opera which was indeed beautiful. The uneven roof on which you can climb to the top, the amazing views of the pier it gave me a sense of accomplishment and freedom. I think (for me) the feeling that would describe Oslo the best is freedom.

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We soon figured out that Oslo is definitely a must-do cities in Europe, and if you can understand it’s a bit more expensive that the usual places you go, you can have a lot of fun.

I can proudly say that Mandy and I did Oslo on a budget, and we haven’t really miss any important details. We walked. And I don’t mean, we walked the normal distance someone walks in a day, we walked the entire cities, we visited everything, and everything was done a pied. We walked through different neighbourhoods, we got lost and we walked some more. We ran, we jogged, we hiked in amazing parks, we walked. Yes there were times when we were wondering which way is better, of course we made poor choices, but did we enjoy it? Absolutely, every minute of it.

A few things I noticed about Oslo, maybe a few things that I wonder about Oslo, and a few that I don’t particularly like.

  • I think they are somewhat obsessed with nakedness (the statues I mean)
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  • They have a few very strange sculptures
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  • They somehow managed to build up houses and restaurants in the woods, without destroying (too much) the nature, so you can easily go for hikes and enjoy the fresh air, and even lay down in the middle of a football field at high altitude (which we did).
  • At crossings they have two red men and just one green. We were wondering why is that?
  • There are not as many tourists as you would see in any other place in Europe, you can take your time when sightseeing and taking picture because there’s no crowd behind you waiting to do the same.
  • You need to pay for the toilets (I just thought I need to let people know this :D)
  • They claim it’s one of the oldest capitals if Europe, it doesn’t look like one, and that is somewhat disappointing. Everything appears to be new, and it just doesn’t give you a feel of the history and traditions.
  • If you dare to seem puzzled when you pay for something the answer is going to be ‘This is Oslo, it’s expensive!’ (Like we didn’t already know that, but thanks for being kind enough to remind us).
  • If you spend a few days in Norway, you’ll think the beauty is truly palpable. Everything around you looks beautiful and everyone around you looks stunning.
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  • We found a public toilet covered in newspapers (yes, you needed to pay to get in).
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  • That was Oslo. Mandy decided she wants to move there. I decided I want a roadtrip around Norway.